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The Power Of One

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  • Tue, Feb 21, 2017 - 04:44am

    #2
    roscoepcoltraine

    roscoepcoltraine

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    The Power of One

Very cool story, Adam. We all need to know about people like this. Very motivational. And yes, reminds us we can all make a difference. 

  • Tue, Feb 21, 2017 - 06:29am

    #1

    Adam Taggart

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    The Power Of One

Never forget, no matter how overwhelming life's challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person. 

~ R. Buckminster Fuller

Few people embody being “that one person” better than Nicholas Winton.

Never heard of him? Neither had I until recently. But he's now a hero of mine.

Winton was a British citizen who rescued nearly 670 Jewish children from Czechoslovakia during World War Two.

He did this of his own accord, not as part of any state agency or organized movement. Initially on a skiing trip to Switzerland, he canceled his vacation after Kristallnacht and went to Prague to help a friend there who was working to support the local Jewish population. Having learned that Britain's Parliament had recently voted to accept European war refugees provided they had a place to stay and could pay a £50 deposit, Winton began single-handly relocating Czech Jewish children to safety in his home country.

Before the Nazis tightened their control on Czechoslovakia, Winton managed to put 669 children on trains to the Netherlands, from where they were then sent to homes of foster families in Britain that he (and his mother) had found for them.

Tragically, after their children departed to safety, many of the biological parents left behind ultimately ended up perishing at Auschwitz.

Winton sought no fanfare for his heroism. He spoke so rarely of it that the general public had no idea what he had done until nearly 50 years later. His own wife (whom he married after the war) didn't even know until she one day came across the ledger he had used to keep track of the children during the evacuation.

Once she realized the magnitude of what this quiet hero had done, she worked with a television producer on a TV special to recognize him publicly for his humanitarian effort. By this time, Winton was an elderly man.

He agreed to attend, embarrassed by the attention. And unbeknownst to him, the producers had tracked down one of the children he had rescued, now an adult, and seated her next to him throughout the evening. It wasn't until the end of the ceremony that they announced to him who she was. Watching Winton realize that the smiling woman next to him had been able to live a long, happy life because of his courageous action all those years ago is a very tender moment.

And if that doesn't bring a tear to your eye, what happens next should. The host then asks the audience “Is there anyone else here who owes their life to this man?”… and EVERYONE stands up. Turns out, they had packed the theater with his former rescued children, now in their 50s and 60s, each of whom was saved by this kind, humble man:

We rarely get to witness such a moment of grace like this. It's simply perfect.

For me, it's a reminder never to discount the impact our own individual acts can have.

Winton certainly answered Fuller's call to “be that one person” to make a difference in the world.

Will each of us?

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  • Tue, Feb 21, 2017 - 09:31am

    #3
    Ruairi Edwards

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    Hope

If our 'system' is a reflection of the way we live our lives and how we treat other people (which it is), then there's nothing more important than what we choose to do as individuals, because that is the world we then fashion. As Rebecca Solnit so eloquently puts it:

"Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. It's the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone"

I think this applies to Nicholas Winton. Thank you Adam, very inspiring.

  • Tue, Feb 21, 2017 - 04:38pm

    #4
    Uncletommy

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    Where exactly does one begin?

There are solutions, but moving the problem from one country to another does not seem to have long term benefits. Until governments can coordinate efforts to minimize the impact of decreasing resources and increasing population, these stories will become commonplace and slowly fly under the media radar. The power of one is really all we have left to quell the trend.

https://newsline.com/trump-triggers-mass-departure-of-refugees-to-canada/

P.S. remember to check your news sources for reliability. In depth and critical analysis of sources should be standard practice in your fact checking. 

  • Tue, Feb 21, 2017 - 08:28pm

    #5

    suziegruber

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    Meaning

Hi Adam,
Thank you for posting this powerful story.  It prompted me to listen to Chris' interview with Stephen Jenkinson again and I found this very relevant gem.

the ripples of your days are not for you to decide their meaning. They are for you to labor in the premise of the meaning of other people, the ones who came before you. And understanding all the while that the meaning of your life is in the hands of those to come; that you do not have an authoritative voice in the meaning of your life. You do not, and it is proper that you do not. There is humility, yes, but there is no humiliation in that.

What if we all have confidence in our own basic goodness.

— Suzie

  • Wed, Feb 22, 2017 - 02:23pm

    #6

    Chris Martenson

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    That is a fantastic quote

[quote=ruairi2k]

If our 'system' is a reflection of the way we live our lives and how we treat other people (which it is), then there's nothing more important than what we choose to do as individuals, because that is the world we then fashion. As Rebecca Solnit so eloquently puts it:

"Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. It's the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone"

I think this applies to Nicholas Winton. Thank you Adam, very inspiring.

[/quote]

I love that Solnit quote.  It is so true.  

It's part of the reason I have come to despise the sort of alt-energy green articles that come out and say that geniuses like Elon Musk are working hard on awesome things and all we have to do is believe in that future and it will happen.  So it doesn't.  Not really.  Because to make it happen will require real work, hard decisions, and life-style changes.

But a lot of people, self-described 'optimists' who don't like anyone raining on their parade, excuse themselves from acting because they are already 100% occupied being optimistic.  Done!  Problem solved!

Same for pessimists, who fall into the trap of thinking that they have no power and so they take no actions at all.  But how do things change then?  If not them (or you or me) then who?

I still chafe at the word "hope" because I think it is an interchangeable word for optimism in my culture.  Instead I am increasingly using the word 'faith.'

Not in an organized religion sense, but in the way of knowing that I do have an impact, even if I do not get to see all of its workings in this lifetime, or get to have any say in how others interpret or use it.  So I have faith that if I operate with full integrity, and with a clear heart and mind, and do my very best, that this is what I am here to do.  What happens next is not in my hands.  But it will all work out exactly as it was meant to, otherwise it would have been different.

That's what I mean by faith.

So count me as a 'realistic optimist' which I do not place on the optimist-pessimist spectrum but rather as a third axis up above, making a triangle shape out of the three states of being.

  • Wed, Feb 22, 2017 - 03:42pm

    #7
    Uncletommy

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    Faith without works?

 Faith is not intellectual assent only; it involves life change. Our faith is evidenced by the way we live. 

If we do it at the expense of our environment and the other creatures we share this planet with, we end up at the same place as Easter Island, the Fertile Crescent and the other abundance of examples. Do we comfort the afflicted or afflict the comfortable? History is replete with solutions and most bring with them  "angst" and the gnashing of teeth. Staying one step ahead of Mother Nature requires a diligence most of us cannot muster. Short term fixes, at length, require other long term fixes we seem to be unable to secure. Until we seriously recognize our human impact on this world and planet, all the "Musk-wellian" solutions will only prepare us for an isolated demise on foreign world. I would start by planting a tree for each of my TWO children and one for their children. I know there is a compost pile somewhere in the future with my name on it. We have achieved Peak Prosperity and only the wise and diligent advocates of its tenets will tolerate the slide into the future.

  • Thu, Feb 23, 2017 - 12:32am

    #8
    Cornelius999

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    Quite possibly our inner

Quite possibly our inner compass is trustworthy and we needn't be overawed by" facts" and reason, techniques and technology. Buddhism says we need to quiet our grasping at the world or we wear ourselves out. The technology consumes us.  Outer limits can spur inner growth and community flourishing:

     " The reasonable man adapts himself to the world.  The unreasonable man adapts the world to himself.          Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man"        G.B. Shaw

  • Thu, Feb 23, 2017 - 01:05am

    #9
    Uncletommy

    Uncletommy

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    I wonder?

https://vimeo.com/43777476

  • Thu, Feb 23, 2017 - 08:45am

    #10

    Agent700

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    Being a “Realistic Optimist”

I hear you Chris, and have always considered myself to be both. But after years of being surrounded mostly by people who are at either ends of the spectrum, and as today’s realities wear away at the optimism part, it is becoming increasingly difficult. Especially the past 6 months for some reason, that I can’t identify. It probably is my unwillingness to accept that there are truly evil and dark forces working against me and all of mankind..
Maybe Cornelius999 has it correct with the comment about Buddhism, “we need to quiet our grasping at the world or we wear ourselves out. The technology consumes us.”……I guess I’m saying this member’s realistic optimism is turning more to HOPE that something comes along to change the course.. Is that called faith?

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